The Cloud Experience Everywhere

How are companies leveraging VDI now? New trends and strategies for the hybrid workplace

Virtual desktop infrastructure is rapidly becoming a mainstay of the modern digital workplace. Here's a look at the latest trends; join us for an HPE World Watch webinar, May 19 at 9 am PT, to learn more.

HPE-Hybrid-Workplace-VDI-Remote-Workplace.pngVirtual desktop infrastructure was already a hot technology before the pandemic hit, but the last twelve months have seen a big surge, and companies increasingly see it as a core component of the modern digital workplace.

Together with my HPE colleague Ron Caruso and VMware’s Spenser Pitts, I’ll be talking about the latest advances in VDI in an HPE World Watch webinar, coming up Wednesday, May 19 at 9 am PT: Enabling a Future-Ready Remote Workforce with VDI. I hope you can join us. We’ll be covering a lot of ground, including automation and intelligence for the digital workplace, cyber security aspects, and on-premises as a service approaches.

As one of the webinar presenters, I was asked to give a sneak preview of the content by John Cummings, blog editor for Cloud Experience Everywhere. Here are some of the topics we covered:

John Cummings: What were the big lessons that companies learned from the upswing in VDI implementations during the pandemic?

Mark Wayt: We’ve seen a few companies that all made somewhat similar mistakes – for example, just enabling some Microsoft Remote Desktop Services on top of a Microsoft Server 2019 implementation, maybe inside their existing virtualized environment. They sometimes found that performance was poor, or Microsoft Teams didn't work.

Alongside this, there were issues around applications – you need to know how to deploy apps to a Terminal Server, and that’s different to how you do it for a regular PC. You can’t just point SCCM at the Terminal Server and hope it delivers it OK. And you have a completely different licensing model.

And then we have cloud VDI. Rapidly spinning up VDI environments in the hyperscale cloud vendors without understanding the nuances of what to do can pose some risks – for example, falling foul of license requirements (you can’t actually run Windows 10 in any hyperscale cloud vendor except Azure, due to license restrictions). Or having unexpectedly high bills at the end of the month due to end users leaving sessions up, not taking advantage of non-persistence, or suddenly wanting to bring VDI back on-prem. There are smart ways to do Hybrid Cloud VDI – HPE can help you do that.

John: What trends do you see emerging for VDI as we head towards a new normal, at least in some parts of the world?

Mark: Workstation-as-a-Service is one that has really taken off. Engineering companies used to spend lots of money on workstation-class PCs or laptops that they would put out on the desks of their employees. However, those machines were doing standard office stuff 90% of the time; users only needed the power of the workstation 10% of the time. And if they were using desktop PCs, working from home became a struggle. Even with laptops, CAD documents and oil and gas engineering platforms aren’t light when it comes to data, so the end user needed a huge Internet connection at home. And potentially the company needed a huge Internet connection to support lots of users. And then you have the cost of managing this expensive estate of workstations remotely.

Lots of companies have realized that centralizing workstations into VDI can be a huge cost savings. No longer do you need 5,000 workstation-class machines out on the desks. You can get away with probably 1,000 server-class VDI sessions in your data center for those times that users need the CAD or other heavy-duty apps, while still delivering better power than dedicated workstations. (You can use HPE Moonshot Servers for a truly 1:1 user-to-hardware relationship.) And yet they’re on the same LAN as the app, meaning performance is as good as it can get. No more moving huge CAD files even over the WAN – move them over a 40Gb interconnect! It’s no wonder so many oil companies, car companies, and engineering companies trust HPE’s VDI solutions to help them here.

John: For businesses venturing into VDI for the first time, what’s a good way to start?

Mark: Do your homework about VDI platforms and the pros and cons – every software vendor has a different sweet spot, and you need to ascertain which vendor is right for you. Don’t make it about a personal preference for Citrix, VMware or Microsoft – there are clear ways to work out which vendor will give you the best service, so get trained up and do the research. HPE can help you with this, too.

Many hardware vendors, HPE included, have reference architectures for specific use cases. Whether it’s for Oil and Gas, Engineering and CAD, Finance and Traders, Healthcare, or even Video Workflow, HPE has reference architectures that can help you work out what platforms will work best for you. Should you choose HPE Synergy? What about HPE SimpliVity? Or HPE ProLiant? You can do the work yourself, or engage HPE to help you do it and work out the best solution.

Do the persona assessments for the teams you want to move onto VDI; build the use cases and business cases clearly. There are third-party tools that enable you to take snapshots of working habits and find out which of your users fit into which type of VDI persona – do you need GPU’s? How much CPU & RAM for each of the persona types? How much storage and how fast?

You can always choose HPE Greenlake VDI, our on-premises, as a service platform. We’ll do much of the hard work for you. Just pick how many of the pre-designed persona types you want, and we’ll deliver a fully configured and ready-to-rock VDI stack, with licensing and operational support all rolled into a single bill covering usage, per user per month.

I hope you can join us for the webinar – mark your calendar, Wednesday, May 19 at 9 am PT: Enabling a Future-Ready Remote Workforce with VDI. Register today!

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Mark Wayt
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


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About the Author


Mark is a Worldwide Client Platforms Architect, owning part of the portfolio and covering all elements of Digital Workplace (VDI, Microsoft 365 & Windows 10) in the Intelligent Edge and IoT Practice Area in HPE Pointnext.